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Featured natural law?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Eddi, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. Eddi

    Eddi currently engaged in spiritual warfare

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    Question:

    Is there such thing as a natural law? (as opposed to a divine law or a human-made law)

    That exists independently of God?

    In the same way as 4 + 4 = 8 exists independently of God?

    Biblically, I think there is, look at Romans 2:14

    ...for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,,,

    I call it "human nature" - the capacity to recognise and follow natural laws, concerning the ethical treatment of others

    And that it is universal and in all (healthy) peoples' hearts no matter what their faith or non-faith might be, and regardless of culture

    I think it is a law of the universe that where sapient civilised beings emerge an intuitive natural law will also emerge, I believe that evolution demands this. I believe that with humans, the in-built ethical imperative to be good comes from nature rather than from God. Much like the evolution of life by natural selection is a natural fact rather than a thing designed by God.

    For proof, look at all the ethically aware and fundamentally decent people who are atheists - they abide by natural law whilst ignoring religious teachings and manage to be good, ethical people in a way many religious folk don't. I believe such people are testimony to there being natural laws that concern ethics. Although granted, secular ethical notions are influenced by religious influences.

    Those are my thoughts on the matter :)
     
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  2. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Well, since it is in debates. :)
    No, there is no natural law, when it comes to morality.
    Morality is subjective as tied to the replication of the fittest gene.
    Survival, reproduction and cooperation are all in the end in the "service" of the genes and they are "selfish" even within a species.
     
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  3. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    One problem is that the term 'natural law' has a meaning concerning physics and the scientific description of nature. Yes, I believe that such exists, as least descriptively, independent of the existence of deities.

    You seem to be looking for 'natural law' as applied to human societies, which is a very different thing. There, I am far more skeptical that a single set of 'natural laws' exists or would even be good for all societies in all locations of the world. Instead, each society modifies the basic notions of fairness, compassion, honest, etc (values seen even in other primates), into a system that works for them in their location and their time. This means that the legal systems tend to change over time as society changes. Which is a good thing, in my opinion.

    So, I think the *basis* of human law comes from nature (those values at the base), but that the elaboration into the laws of any specific society is dependent on conditions at that time and place.
     
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  4. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    To vague.
     
  5. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    I don't believe non-believers are evidence of some natural law, and I don't believe it is just down to gene survival either, but more about how such people look at the world as a whole, the human race, our nature, and what might be best for us all to live a reasonable life whilst being in harmony with all others as best we can. In essence, the Golden Rule. And hence the Humanist Code, which I think most non-believers will likely see as being quite reasonable. I know we have another thread concerning morality being inbuilt but it hasn't been proven as yet I believe, apart from some basic instincts, such that we still gain our morality from those around us and what we experience whilst very young. Even without any religious teaching, it doesn't take long to work out the basic rules that will make life better for oneself but not at a cost to others, although plenty do disregard such for whatever reasons.
     
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  6. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Such laws as the laws of thermodynamics would be what i consider natural laws.

    As for laws involving humanity i think they are more to do with morality rather than nature
     
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  7. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    The Golden Rule is not universal, because in the end not all humans need to have a good life for some to have a good life. It is a part of it and our ability to function in small group of less than 200 members sets a limit of the automatic use of the GR. In effect the Golden Rule naturally only applies to your "in-group".
    To live in a more complex setting that a limited self-sufficient group of less than requires more than just the GR.
     
  8. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Where does morality come from?
     
  9. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    As a nondualist, I don't see divinity and nature to be mutually exclusive. For me, they're one and the same. All is natural; all is divine. What one perceives as not natural or not divine is merely an appearance in nature/divinity.
     
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  10. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    Too short.
     
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  11. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    :D
     
  12. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    How is human morality not a part of nature?
     
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  13. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Elaborate?
     
  14. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    "So, I think the *basis* of human law comes from nature (those values at the base), but that the elaboration into the laws of any specific society is dependent on conditions at that time and place."

    What is the "basis"? And what do time and place have to do with it?
     
  15. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    I would agree that it's natural for sentient beings to strive for collective well being, and so morals and ethics spring up "naturally" from that starting point. Given that we're on RF, I think it's important to add that morals and ethics evolve as we learn more about what supports collective well being. In other words, I think it's a mistake to believe that timeless morals and ethics are enshrined in dusty old (manmade), scripture. Instead, I believe that popular scripture did a decent job of capturing the morals and ethics of the day, but that morals and ethics from 2000 years ago or 1400 years ago or 3000 years ago, or whatever, are now substantially outdated.
     
  16. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    I think you are correct, at least overall... If you compare humans to any other mammal, everything within a specie follow certain general behavioral patterns, but these deviate depending on various things. Even a lot of people we categorize as psychopath or which might have other psychological issues, will still follow some of these patterns, meaning they are not completely off track 24/7 and in everything they do. Being social animals certain behaviours have developed over time, if they hadn't we wouldn't be social beings or we simply might not have survived.

    I think one of the arguments that religious people will use in regards to atheists, is that we behave because of God, we just don't know it or won't accept it. But obviously this falls to the ground rather fast as it doesn't explain how humans managed to behave before Judaism and Christianity, and the knowledge of the biblical God was even known to us.

    At least I would say that there is very logical explanations of how morality or natural laws could be explained by evolution compared to them being from a God.

    If you take a look at the Sentinelese tribe, which are so isolated from the rest of us, that it is of concern that to even get into contact with them, if possible, could potentially wipe them out as they most likely have no immunity to our diseases. That tells a bit about how isolated their society is, yet they seem to be able to survive despite never having heard about God. In fact they killed the last person that tried to go there to teach them about Christianity. So one could wonder how they can build functional societies, if they have never heard about God.
     
  17. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Well, as I pointed out, even other primates share some of the basic ethical principles, such as fairness and compassion. I think that is what expands in societies to form the justification for the laws of that society. And, because specific conditions (food availability, for example) vary from location to location and from time to time, the way those basic drives are elaborated into laws differs from society to society. The laws are formed to govern the people in a society.
     
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  18. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    Well I will agree that our development tended to favour small groups but I think many these days will expand their behaviour beyond just those they know or seem to be in one's group, such that it tends to apply to all who are likely to reciprocate. And the Golden Rule is only a high-level general rule under which the most commonly agreed upon codes tend to form - and which are not difficult to predict.
     
  19. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    yes

    gold behaves as gold
    lead behaves as lead

    may you never see the difference
     
  20. Eddi

    Eddi currently engaged in spiritual warfare

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    I agree with this

    It explains how in some ways morality is universal but in other ways specific to a certain time and place
     
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